It surprises me that there’s really so much debate in either direction about direct email marketing at this point. Honestly, this debate has happened twice before since the early nineties, and I honestly had the impression we pretty much had this all figured out in a way it’d work but not annoy people. Well, that actually is the case, but for some reason, it seems that this information just hasn’t spread to the majority of the community, so the debate rages on with all sides unaware that the debate was long solved. So, as I sit here defending direct email marketing as a “well duh”, I better have a good explanation for it, right? I better know what this solution I’ve been on about is. #1 – B2B vs. B2C The first thing to consider is what type of marketing you’re doing, because the answer to this shapes the rest of it in a pretty binary way. B2B (business to business) calls for a more to the point approach for how the email body flows, and it also calls for less flair and dramatic presentation. However, B2C (business to customer) is marketing to a non-professional entity. Even if a reader happens to be a professional, they are off the clock, and are just another human being, with human emotions, human sensibilities and human ways of thinking. #2 – Subject and First Sentence Ok, the subject is no surprise as being something to consider. It’s the first thing that a reader will see of your email, as it arrives in their inbox. Well, at least it’s the first thing after the sender’s address. With a B2B situation, you’ll want the subject to be an “Attn. Name or Title” followed by an identification as a proposal or offer. Very formal, but honest. With a B2C situation, you’ll want a catchy call to action approach, hearkening back to the SEO tactics we’re all used to for blog and website marketing. The rules are very parallel in some respects, obviously. However, the first sentence has only been a mild concern until modern inboxes, which often show at least the first one hundred characters of that off to the side due to displays being large even on handhelds. So, you’ll want this, across the board, to be engaging and give them a sense what it’s about before they click the item. #3 – Text Body and Images Images are honestly a waste of time, and people may as well just stop bothering with them. Most inboxes automatically block them from loading due to bandwidth drain on mobiles and process drain on PCs. They can be unblocked of course, but people seldom bother. As for the text body, this differs between B2B and B2C fairly significantly. For a B2B situation, you’ll want to lead in with an introduction of yourself and your company, and discuss your product or service. As you do, you’ll want to describe it in operation in conjunction with the industry of the company being targeted. You’ll want to close with basic pricing and some explanation of why yours is the best, followed with an invitation to reply, call, instant message or whatever. And also, include links to your blogs, website and listings in ranking sites. For B2C, you want to start right into the pitch and prestige of the company, then explain the product in detail, followed with the same closing information. Conclusion: As you can see, the real trick to direct email marketing is just considering the type of marketing you’re carrying over it above anything else. If you use the wrong approach for the wrong kind of marketing, it’ll at best be an average level of success, but most likely, it’ll be a failure.